Iraq: Possible Futures - Including a return to the past


Fri - Sat, Mar 11 to Mar 12, 9:20am - 11:00am


CMES, Room 102, 38 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA

CMES presents a symposium

Iraq: Possible Futures - Including a return to the past

Since its creation out of the three Ottoman Provinces - Basra, Baghdad and Mosul - after 1914, Iraq has been occupied several times, battled with Kurdish separatism, subject to a number of political revolutions, endured the long dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and several wars or periods of great tension with its Eastern neighbor, Iran. Not to speak of huge annual floods, uncertain title to land and now, paradoxically, low oil prices, heightened by sectarianism exacerbated by the Islamic State movement (ISIS), and a severe shortage of electricity and water. Inter alia this has given it a very different political history than that of its closest Arab neighbor, Syria.

What now? The aim of this symposium will be to discuss a range of future political and economic possibilities including a return to new versions such past political and constitutional arrangements as those of 1925, 1958, 2005, etc.

Organized by Professor Roger Owen, A. J. Meyer Professor of Middle East History, Emeritus, and Dr. Muhamed H. Almaliky, Associate, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Speakers will include:
Luay Al Khatteeb, Columbia University
Orit Bashkin
, University of Chicago
Eric Davis, Rutgers University
Kanan Makiya, Brandeis University
A. Richard Norton, Boston University
Joseph Sassoon, Georgetown University
Sami Zubaida, University of London

Tentative program
March 11
9:20 am   Welcome: Roger Owen & Muhamed Almaliky

9:30          Political panel: Reflection on the past and an update on the present
                 Sami Zubaida & Kanan Makiya
                 Moderator: Muhamed Almaliky

11:30       Break for lunch

1:00 pm  Economic panel: Oil, flood and corruption
                Joseph Sassoon, Luay Al Khatteeb
                Moderator: Roger Owen

3:00         Break

3:30         Cultural panel: Expression of identity through poetry, art and religion
                 Eric Davis, Orit Bashkin
                 Moderator: Willian Granara

5:30          End of day 1

March 12
9:00 am    Summary session: Regional implications and final thoughts
                  A. Richard Norton

11:00        End of symposium

Contact: Liz Flanagan